Tips for Starting with Nuendo

I recently started a new job and one of my tasks has been to learn Nuendo, primarily for sound design and mixing. I’ve always been a Pro Tools user and I have a deep working knowledge of the program and specific workflows. Switching over to Nuendo was a bit of a jolt, but as I work more with the program, I see a lot of value for game audio workflows. Cycle marker exports, the control room, quick controls, robust project management, extremely detailed and searchable track organization, customizable key commands/macros, and many more reasons put Nuendo ahead of Pro Tools for me in terms of relevant game audio workflow features. I’m only three months into using Nuendo and still learning more every day.

At first, transitioning was extremely frustrating. I couldn’t accomplish simple things in Nuendo and had a hard time digging through resources looking for solutions. If you’re coming from another DAW and interested in checking Nuendo out, hopefully some of these tips will save you some time and frustration. Also, if you have the patience and time, reading through the Nuendo manual is very helpful. It’s comprehensive and pretty well written.

If you’re a Nuendo user and have tips and ideas of your own, please share them in the comments.

Basic vocabulary

One of the things that makes learning Nuendo a bit harder is the shift in vernacular. It’s hard to Google a solution or search the official manual if you don’t know the Nuendo lingo. Here are a few common Pro Tools to Nuendo analogs.

Pro ToolsNuendo
Edit WindowProject Window
Mix WindowMixer
Region or ClipEvent
Region or Clip BinPool
Timeline SelectionLocator Selection
Memory Location MarkerMarker
Memory Location SelectionCycle Marker
PlaylistTrack Version
ConsolidateBounce Selection
BounceExport Audio Mixdown
Undo HistoryEdit History
I/O SetupVST Connections

Initializing basic key commands

Unlike Pro Tools, in Nuendo all the key commands can be re-assigned. Nuendo includes some presets to help accommodate users coming from other DAWs. I started off by switching my key commands to the Pro Tools preset. To do this:

  • Go to File – > Key commands…
  • Under presets, select Pro Tools Key Commands
  • Click OK

While the Pro Tools preset is definitely not comprehensive or perfect, this should give you a familiar starting place.

When using Nuendo you’ll run into commands you want to re-assign. Simply open the Key Commands dialog, find the action, and re-assign it. You can save your own presets under the Presets menu.

Move cursor when clicking anywhere in the timeline

In Nuendo by default, you can only move the cursor by clicking up in the ruler above the timeline.  In order to fix this, you need to check an option box called ‘Locate When Clicked in Empty Space’. To find this option:

  • Go to File -> Preferences..
  • Click on the Transport section on the left
  • Check the ‘Locate When Clicked in Empty Space’ optionLocateWhenClickedInEmptySpace

Select Track On Background Click

This is a good option to know about. Often times you’ll want the track to automatically highlight and select when you click on it in the timeline. To enable this functionality:

  • Go to File -> Preferences
  • Click on the Editing section on the left
  • Check ‘Select Track on Background Click’

 Enable video scrubbing when dragging an event

If you’re designing to picture, it’s extremely helpful to have the video scrub while dragging an event. This is crucial for spotting. In Nuendo’s default mode, the video will not scrub when dragging an event. To enable scrubbing, you need to activate ‘Edit Mode’.

  • Click on Transport in the top menu, then select Edit Mode.

In the Key Commands menu I’ve also set Ctr+Alt+E to toggle Edit Mode on and off.

Note: You can also scrub by clicking and dragging directly on the video window itself.

Changing the horizontal scroll direction

Unfortunately, Steinberg has decided to reverse their horizontal scrolling standard from every other DAW. By default, Shift+MouseWheelDown moves the timeline backwards in time to the left, and Shift+MouseWheelUp moves forward in time to the right. Even more unfortunate, this is not a changeable preference. In order to solve this you will need an extra bit of software. On the PC (Windows Only), there’s a great free program called X-Button Mouse Control that can fix this major annoyance.

  • Download and install it from here: X-Button Mouse Control
  • Launch X-Button. You’ll see the program’s icon in your start menu.
  • Open it up to set your preferences.
  • Add a profile for Nuendo. With Nuendo running, click the Add button.XButtonSetup01
  • Select Nuendo and press OK
  • Go to Layer 2 and reverse the Mouse Wheel settingsXButtonSetup02
  • Click Apply
  • Click on Settings, then navigate to the Modifier Keys tab
  • Check Enable modifier keys and set the Active Layer 2 to the Shift keyXButtonSetup03
  • Now go to the General tab and un-check Show layer switch balloon notifications. This will turn off a pop up that tells you when you have activated Layer 2. It can be helpful for troubleshooting your settings, but unnecessary and distracting otherwise.
  • Click OK
  • Click Apply back on the main window and close

Now the scrolling will be more natural and similar to Pro Tools or Logic. And,because we made the modifier the Shift key, only during a horizontal scroll will the mousewheel reverse. Normal scrolling without Shift will still be correct.

Comments 9

  • Christopher MontgomeryJuly 27, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    Very in-depth and informative. Thanks for taking the time to write this! Chris

  • AndyDecember 19, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Very cool, thank you, ramping up from Pro tools, Edit Mode is the one that foxed me, cheers

  • Maximilien SPFebruary 14, 2017 at 4:23 am

    Hey Steve this article has proven itself amazing for me since i just picked up Nuendo, seems like the pro-tools preset is non existent, i mean i can find the .xml file, but Nuendo won’t import it… On what version did you do this blog article on ? Out of curiosity 🙂

    • StephenFebruary 14, 2017 at 4:54 am

      Hey Maximilien, glad you are finding it helpful. I wrote the article back when I was using Nuendo 6. Are you using version 7 currently? In v7 if you click on the folder icon to Import in the key commands window, it will look for a file with .key or .mac extensions. But, if you place the Pro Tools KeyCommands.xml in the proper folder, it will just show up in the Presets menu. That folder is: C:\users\WhateverYourUserNameIsHere\AppData\Roaming\Steinberg\Nuendo 7_64\Presets\KeyCommands. That path is assuming you are on Windows. If you’re on mac, it will be in a different location.

      • MaximilienOctober 23, 2017 at 6:11 pm

        Never actually went back on this to say the solution i Found for Nuendo 7 (confirmed also for nuendo 8) for those who might have the same issue. Your answer is along the same lines. Here is what I did.

        Windows 8 & 10
        1. Quit all running programs.
        2. Hover over or right click the start tile (lower left corner by default) and right click and choose file explorer
        3. Navigate to C: > Users >”Your Folder” > AppData* > Roaming > Steinberg
        4. Rename the Nuendo 7 folder to old Nuendo 7 do this to any folders you see with Nuendo or Cubase in the name.
        5. Launch Nuendo 7 and test again.

        * AppData is hidden to show follow this.
        1. In the file explorer ribbon click on the View Tab
        2. Put a check in the hidden items box.

        Yes i’m super late to this haha, but I got locked in time and could not get into Nuendo back then. I have downtime right now so i’m learning it now.

  • ChristianNovember 30, 2017 at 8:34 am

    Hi Stephen
    Thanks so much for these quick tips! Very helpful.

  • JoeMay 16, 2020 at 9:47 am

    Stephen, thank you so much for doing this. I’ve been fairly adept in changing DAW software over the years. NUENDO so deep and so different in many ways. I can’t thank you enough for just a few tips I’ve learned in the past 5 minutes. Thank you.

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